The main reasons I enjoy sailing are the things that make sailing, well, sailing—interaction with other crewmembers, the wind in my hair, water on my face, the sound of lines stretching, the settling of the sails to trim, the rudder cutting through water and hundreds of other sensations that go along with the sport. I would venture to say that sailing is the most interactive of all activities. Disagree if you like, but that’s the way I see it.

To help illustrate my point, I am introducing the first-ever Interactive Sailing Rating System (ISRS). This trademarked and intellectually protected system is yours to use as needed, with some very specific requirements.

  • You must always have fun.
  • You must smile more.
  • You must sail somewhere new.
  • You must use it to introduce someone to sailing.

Here’s how it works:

I see sailing as the interaction of many primary and secondary elements. The primary elements are weather, sea conditions and yourself. The secondary elements include other people, the places you sail and the boat on which you sail.

It sounds complex, but it’s really very simple.

Here’s how to apply it using the ISRS:

First, select the number, or value, for the primary elements (0 = worst; 5 = best).

  • Wind (0 = no wind; 5 = Force 5) Pick: 0 • 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5
  • Weather (0 = torrential rain; 5 = most beautiful day you can imagine) Pick: 0 • 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5
  • Seas (0 = flat calm; 3- to 4-footers) Pick: 0 • 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5

Now, select the value for the secondary elements (0 = worst; 5 = best).

  • People: Sailing solo is automatically a “5”. Determine this value based on the annoyance level of your guest(s). E.g., select “0” if you are thinking what a nice anchor your guest(s) would make. Pick: 0 • 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5
  • Destination: Pick: 0 • 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5
  • Sailing Vessel: Pick: 0 • 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5
  • Navigation/Seamanship: A simple trip lacking extensive navigational work—such as a day sail—would rate “0” to “1”. A more complex trip involving a chart plot, DED, radar, GPS, entry of a harbor, etc., rates a higher value. Remember, always be alert and keep a log. Pick: 0 • 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5

ISRS in Action:

Trip Late June Day Sail to Block Island
W 3
W 3
S 2
P 0
D 3
S 5
I 5
Total 22 (1 for the 0)

I love sailing to Block Island; it is a wonderful day-sail from my frequent homeport of Jamestown, Rhode Island, and the destination has much to offer. But the trip, like much in life, offers myriad options—a Janus times 12—and the ISRS reflects those ever-changing conditions.

At this time of year when I have had enough of looking at the cold and windy New England weather, I think back and remember the ISRS numbers of past sails.

 

 

 

Trip August day sail to Block Island
W 4
W 4
S 4
P 1
D 4
S 5
I 3
Total  25

Here is the short list:

To Block Island: 12, 17, 24, 30

Around Newport Island: 30, 35, 37

To Greenport: 25, 27, 15

New York Harbor: 30, 35, 37

Boston Harbor: 29, 34, 35

Long Island Sound: 21, 22, 25

In Narragansett Bay: 25, 27, 35, 39, 44

In the BVI: 40+, 40+, 40+

With friends: 15, 27, 35

To a sunset: 25, 30, 40

To a sunrise: 21, 25, 35

Get it? So look to your level of interactive sailing and start using the ISRS today! And yes, let me know what you come up with—send me the details, not just the totals. It’s all in the details.

We can start an interactive conversation and just maybe sail together in 2012. BTW, I no longer own a sailboat; I am currently working as a delivery skipper, a sailing instructor, and at some other mortgage-paying opportunities.

For those of you who are interested in the results of the informal survey presented in my last blog, here you go:

A sailor is:

  • a person who sails: 47%
  • an athletic person: 10%
  • a true leader of civilization: 35%
  • a person who sells stuff: 5%
  • I think the world will end in 2012: 3%

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